Neven Maguire’s early love affair with all things Donegal continues and even blossoms to this very day.
Happily married to Imelda and the father of twins Conor and Lucia, this celebrated chef makes the most of his time off in some of the more undiscovered parts of south Donegal.
“When you are surrounded by high class cuisine all day it is a great escape to get away with the family with the barbeque down to Fintragh Beach or St. John’s Point. I never go through Donegal without picking some of McGettigan’s sausages. Even tonight I can visualise, even smell them sizzling away on the barbeque – it is a total escape.
“I suppose people think that chefs spend their spare time eating in restaurants – give me the homemade burgers, the sausages and the baked potatoes and a drop of real vegetable soup –chunky vegetables, plenty of barley, noodles and even a whole chicken thrown in – I’m just a country boy at heart!”
Neven has developed a great relationship with his many Donegal patrons but also with suppliers around the county.
“”Some of the best food in Ireland comes out of this county – for fresh seafood well Killybegs is just synonomous with the best, the beef and the mountain lamb I source it all in Donegal. There are new products coming on stream in this county all the time – the Rapeseed Oil, Dicey’s great selection of beers, the healthy gluten free bread and something which I am trying to avoid tonight, Sara Beth’s homemade fresh chocolates.
“Likewise with restaurants – the electric kettle and tin of Maxwell House has disappeared – it’s now latte’s, expressos, Americanos...the list is endless. Around every corner in this neck of the wood you will find a top class restaurant – Village Tavern just down the road, Castlemurray -realistically it really is hard to find a bad one.”
Neven was in Donegal on Thursday last to host a cookery demonstation for the St. Naul’s CLG Club and even had his green and white club jersey for the occasion. Along with Mary Coughlan the couple hosted one of the best “fun events” in the county for quite some time.
It goes without saying that the cooking and the special tips were superb but both Mary and Neven had the packed house in stitches throughout the evening with their good natured banter – a great escape for everybody from all the election debates and political argument.